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The Symbolic Monarchs are in Mexico!
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Take a tour with Estela and Melita as they deliver your Symbolic Monarchs to the children.
 

The students in the photos below live near the monarch sanctuaries in Mexico. Estela and Melita have been visiting the schools that surround their home town of Angangueo since November.

  • Step into these classrooms and take a peek as the kids receive your butterflies.
  • Use the search engine and you may be able to find where your own butterflies landed.
  • The gallery includes pictures from over 65 classrooms from more than 20 schools near the monarch sanctuaries (watch for additions).
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“Guadalupe Victoria,” El Rosario community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Grade 3 & 4

Grade 5 & 6

Grade 1 & 2

Guadalupe Victoria was the first president of Mexico. He was a Mexican revolutionary soldier who fought for independence against Spain in the War of Independence. He lived from 1786-1843.
“Niños Héroes” Elementary, San Luis community, Ocampo, Michoacan 
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Grade 6

Learning the monarch life cycle

Grade 1

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Grade 4

Grade 3

Grades 2-5

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Grade 2

Grade 1

Grade 5

NH_Mex_0910_003 NH_Mex_0910_002 Can you put the stages of the monarch's life cycle in order? Students in the monarch's overwintering region of Mexico don't see the monarch life cycle as we do on breeding grounds, so this is challenging for them.

Grades 2 & 3

Grades 2 & 3
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Snacks and candies to buy at break-time.

Grade 6

Grade 1

This school is named after the Niños Héroes ("Boy Heroes"), six teenage solders who died in Mexico City while defending Mexico from invading U.S. forces in 1847.
"11 de Julio" Elementary, La Rosa de Palo Amarillo community, México.
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Kindergarten

Grades 1,2,3 Grades 4,5,6
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Girls proudly showing their long, braided hair to you.

Typical dress for Michoacan
The two children in the middle (brothers) are dressing in the typical everyday-way of this region with hats, leather belts, boots, and jeans.

Another favorite game.

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Children playing "Trompo"
 
Benito Juarez school, Las Jaras community, Angangueo, Michoacan
These children are the whole school! Benito Juarez school is a multi-grade school, where K-6th grade have classes in a single classroom with a single teacher. The three children on the right (plus one absent student this day) are the ones in kindergarten. 
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Grades K-6

The tiny Kindergarten class

Learning the stages of the monarch life cycle.

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The class Christmas Tree

   
La Monarca (The Monarch) Kindergarten in Angangueo, Michoacan
LM_0910_001 LM_0910_002 About Kindergarten in Mexico
It is mandatory that all children in México start kindergarten at three years old (or maximum four years old) and have a minimum two years of kindergarten. So, all kindergartens have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd "grades." After this, children officially step onto elementary school, at six years old. Elementary schools takes the following 6 years.
Luis Coto Kindergarten, El Rosario community, Ocampo, Michoacan

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Kindergarten (Class A)

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Kindergarten (Class B)

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Hola!

"Pedro Ascencio" School, Garatachea community, México
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Grades 4-6
"Niños Héroes" 
"La Rosa de Palo Amarillo Community, State of México

Grades 1-6

Reading your messages on butterflies from new friends
"Tierra y Libertad" Puente de Tierra community, Tlalpujahua, Michoacan
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Grades 1-6

Estela teaching the kids about the monarch life cycle
Receiving their Symbolic Monarchs
Vasco de Quiroga Elementary, La Mesa de los Alzati community, Zitácuaro Municipality, (10 km. away from Angangueo)in Aporo, Michocan
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Grade 3

Grade 6

Grade 5

This indigenous community is belonging to Otomí civilization --main and only one in our region--. Unfortunately, only the grandparents to the children in school are now able to speak the Otomí dialect fluently. As grandchildren, the students understand it partially but will only speak some words.
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Grade 2

Grade 4

A School Lunch
The only school where, for only 5 pesos, children get a warm and very nutritious lunch (rice, chicken with mole, oats with milk and fruit juice).

VDQ_0910_002 This school is the only one in the region we have visited which collects plastic to be taken to regional collector for recycling. VDQ_0910_007
3rd graders recycling plastic Grades 1, 2, and 3
Vicente Guerrero Elementary, Cevati community, México
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Grades 1-6

Enjoying the symbolic monarchs they just received.

The school's only Kindergarten students (with one child missing today).
This is a multi-grade school, where 1st - 6th grade elementary level attend a single classroom with a single teacher.
Enrique Creel Kindergarten, El Asoleadero community, Ocampo, Michoacan

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Kindergarten

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Children learning the monarch life cycle. 
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It was getting very cloudy, dark, grey, and cold on the way back home. I shot this boy flying his kite. Surprisingly, around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, temperatures started to drop drastically in our region, exactly in the way it does when we will have snow. We shall see if some of the highest elevations get some snow tonight. EZ_0910_030
“Ignacio López Rayón” Elementary, Rancho Escondido, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Grade 4, 5 & 6

Grade 1 & 2

Grade 3

ILR_0910_004 "Ignacio López Rayón” Elementary is located at one of the highest points of El Rosario región, and only a few kilometers from the Monarch Sanctuary.

Students lined up in life-cycle order! They just learned this today.

Carmen Serdan Kindergarten, La Salud community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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"Carmen Serdan" Kindergarten

Snack time

"Morelos" Elementary, La Cantera community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Grade 1

Grade 2

Second graders playing outside the school.

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One girl spontaneously kissed her Symbolic Monarch and then the others followed. I hardly had time to catch the moment with my camera!!! 
Group shot of grades 3, 4, 5 & 6
All together before leaving early that day.
"Lazaro Cardenas" Elementary, La Salud community, Ocampo, Michoacan

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The 4th & 5th Grade teachers at Lazaro Cardenas Elementary
Grade 5

Grade 6

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Grade 3 With Life Cycle Photos Showing a picture of milkweed.

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Grade 2

Grade 2

Grade 5

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Grade 4

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Receiving a symbolic monarch from Belchertown, MA!

See the number 488? Identification numbers were added at Journey North headquarters before the symbolic were sent to Mexico.
"Emiliano Zapata," El Asoleadero community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Grade 5

Grade 3

Grade 1

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Grade 4

Grade 1

Grade 1

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Grade 2

Grade 6

Grade 5
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Grade 2

Grade 3

 

Learning the Monarch life cycle

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Adolfo López Mateos, Cerro Prieto community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Grade 1

Grades 2 & 3

Grades 4, 5, 6
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Think about the fact that we do not have heating systems at home or our schools. We are not used to heat, so we do not think we need it!
This mule is loaded with firewood which the family will use for cooking.

Mother and daughter walking home from the mill, carrying corn flour for making tortillas.
Take a look to the weather today!!! These pictures were taken while I was on the way to the "Adolfo López Mateos" You can give yourselves an idea of how cold it was today.
We are now awaiting to have some snow any moment now if the soft wind disappears.
“Nezahualcóyotl” Kindergarten, Rosa de Palo Amarillo community, México
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“Nezahualcóyotl” Kindergarten
Rosa de Palo Amarillo, México

Snack time!
at “Nezahualcóyotl” Kindergarten

A typical house in the village.

The school is named after Nezahualcoyotl (which means "Coyote who Fasts") a philosopher, warrior, architect, poet and ruler in pre-Columbian Mexico who lived from 1402 – 1472.
"Vicento Guerrero" School, Las Palmas community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Grades 5 & 6

Grades 1 & 2 Grades 3 & 4
Notice that "Vicento Guerrero" Primary School still preserves their wooden classroom and, at the back, their wooden bathroom which only a few schools still have these days.
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Here I'm having children guess the beginning of the Monarch's life cycle and review some --up to now-- not really well known facts such as:

  • The migrating monarchs coming to spend the winter with us are the 5th generation and live longer than their antecesors.
  • Monarchs eats mainly in the caterpillar stage and store nutrients for the rest of their lives...

They just remain silent when hearing this....I try to give this explanation in about 10 minutes while Melita counts butterflies to be distributed. Then we both distribute and have children enjoy their butterflies in their hands and read their messages.  Last comes the group photo.

"La Peñita" Kindergarten, El Señor del Monte community, Ocampo, Michoacan
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Inside the one-room school. Take a look to the beautiful classroom and library at the back!!! It is wall-papered with carton pieces to avoid the cold wind. We congratulated their young teacher for his work and neatness and his kindness.
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Estela and Melita helping the children select symbolic monarchs
 
Children's games at Emiliano Zapata Elementary
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Some boys playing Marbles
Girls jumping rope, taking turns between themselves.
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The girls were just playing around. Boys playing football at breaktime, which takes place from 11-12 noon.

Boys playing Tazos, which are small metal plates with their favorite cartoon images.

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The moment I was passing these two boys they were heavily discussing who should pay one peso for a bet they made at a Tazos game. None recognized to be the loser. I was arriving in time to keep them apart!!! They were so angry they did not mind my making a couple of photos of them while they told me about their problem!!!!!!!
Boys' competition of the traditional "Trompo" game
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Step 1
Attaching the string.
Step 2
Throwing the top to the ground.
Step 3
Tops dancing on the hand of each competitor.
The trompo game is very symbolic and traditional still in small towns and villages in México.
It consists of making the Trompo "dance-spinning" on the ground and then sofly putting your hand inwards until you manage to get the top dancing in the palm of your hand. The competitor who manages to have the Trompo dance the longest will be the winner. Here are photos showing the steps, from the way you put the thread around the top, throw it to the ground, and then manage to get the top into the palm of the hand.
A Religious Festivity: Adoring Santa Cecilia the Patron Saint of the Musicians
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This religious festivity was taking place outside the Emiliano Zapata School.
Adults and children attended. They were adoring the Santa Cecilia who is the Patron Saint of the Musicians and is adored in México every 22 of November. The small group of musicians and the instruments they show, is the typical kind of musicians seen in our region, especially in these festivities.
Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe
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Mock sword fight
Music
Practicing dance for Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe celebrated on Dec. 12. These photos are a sample of the nowadays remaining traditions which still reflect a lot of our pre-hespanic way of adoring (dancing), mixed with the arrival of a new religion imposed to our ancestors after the Spanish conquest then.
Thank you, Estela and Melita!
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Overlooking Angangueo
Estela and Melita packing the car with butterflies
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On the way back home, some children asked for ride on the back of the car, to which I said yes, but only for a few meters ahead, scarcely starting the car, while another child made a photo from behind us.
At the Romero's store in
Angangueo
 

 
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